Sep 25th, 2020
Usually I've got a good description of the people on the podcast. I can scribble something witty, poetic, elegant and the guest (typically) won't do a better job.
Not in the case of Jem, who goes by the moniker of Rookling. Jem is such a poet, such a storyteller, his way written expression goes beyond anything this aging 31-year-old writer can muster.
Having moved to Berlin in 2018, Jem has already gained quite the popularity and following in the local music scene. With a wonderful Joni Mitchel, Fleet Foxes, Leonard Cohen inspired blend of folk-rock tales, Jem is becoming quite the sought after talent. And despite the heavy lyrics, mature reflections and somewhat old-timer tales, he's only 23. (Age is only a number of course, but christ.)
In this episode, Jem and I talk folk inspiration, keeping in touch with fans through tender letters, and what we won't miss about the music industry once things establish some kind of normal.
(And to prove a point about storytelling and how good Jem is at it, I'm going to post his bio below as he wrote it. You'll agree it's much, much better than mine.)
In the autumn of ’18, Rookling swapped the spires and hills of England for the Berlin underground.
He stepped off the plane with a guitar, a suitcase, and a dream: to share his music with the world.
The city sent him reeling. He escaped into his songbook and the solace of storytelling, evoking love, death, and landscapes strange and dear. All the while, the hearth-fire warmth of Fleet Foxes and Nick Drake were helping mould his harmonies.
Each Rookling song blends the solemnity of an altar with the urgency of a church bell. The influence of the greats is unmistakeable: he channels the uncommon poetry of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, adding a more archaic thrill of his own. At a tender twenty-three, Rookling is a folk-prophet in the making.